Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Solstice!

BadKitten and her Cousin Ben made us cookies to celebrate the season. They are getting very good in the kitchen, eh?
I wanted to bring all of you a gift for the holiday season, and what could be better than a hat? Quick to make, fun to wear and it chases the winter chill.

This pattern began life as a basic doily, which I shared for free. You might recognize Little Flower... Catherine Dunlap took the doily pattern and made a lovely hat, which she was kind enough to share with me. Her hat is made on larger needles than are in my comfort zone, so I reworked things for a finer gauge. Her hat is styled as a tam, with a decrease at twice the rate of the increase. My version is a classic beret. This pattern contains three charted versions. The first version is a beret in sock weight yarn. The second is a beret in DK weight yarn, and the third is Catherine’s original, a tam in DK weight yarn. Thanks to Catherine for generously sharing her concept! Special thanks to Mary Rose and Judith Gilbert.
BadKitten graciously humors her mother by showing off the light weight beret. I believe that she looks gracious...
I think she is getting a little fed up, but hiding it well...

Materials for Light weight Beret
-1 skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino 100gms/460 yards in color 103
-1 set of 5 US 2 double pointed needles (7 inches or longer)
-Yarn needle for weaving in ends
-12 inch dinner plate to block (optional)
7 stitches to the inch blocked in stockinette.

Materials for DK weight tam or beret
-1 skein of Baby Bee Sweet Delight Twist in color yellow
-1 set of US size 8 double pointed needles (7 inches or longer)
-Yarn needle for weaving in ends
-12 in dinner plate to block (optional)
5 stitches to the inch in stockinette.

-Cast-on 8 stitches to four double pointed needles and join in the round being careful not to twist.
-Work one round plain.
-Begin following the chart
-Repeat chart eight times for each round (twice per needle.)
-After completing your chosen chart, cast off loosely in ribbing.
-Soak in cool water and block to shape. You can use a 12 in plate to block the berets.

For those of you who have been with me for the long haul, you know what to do with the following pictures! Click on them and print in Landscape mode. First you have the chart key...

Second you have the chart for the light weight beret...

Finally you have the chart for both the DK beret and tam...

Here are Cathrine Dunlap's photos of the tam that she made. Here model is Lauren Ruff, who was kind enough to let us use her photograph.
You can see the shape in this picture.
And the front edge here...
Finally, you can see the original Little Flower right here!
Both Little Flower and now this remix are available as PDF files at my Ravelry Pattern Store. They are both free! If you want to know more about Little Flower, check this old post for details.
I wish all of you a wonderful, wonderful whatever you are celebrating. I hope it is filled with fiber and cookies!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Little Gifts...Plain and Fancy

With holidays coming fast, we all need a few small gifts that can fly quickly off the needles, use modest amounts of yarn and please a wide audience. Each of these project uses one skein of the specified yarn. As an added bonus, these project each involve more advanced techniques for lace knitters, and we could all buff our technique... The Green Spiral uses one skein of AllHemp 3 from Hemp for knitters. It has a center start, a simple spiral pattern and a knitted edging. Lots of good lace technique to practice on this one!

The finished Spiral is perfect on your table and looks great with my nice pots. It is equally as pretty as a wash cloth, and a crocheted loop is optional. This piece is about 15 inches across.

The Purple Square is also knit in the AllHemp 3, and is started at the center. This is another good piece for practicing that center start.

The finished Purple is 13 inches square and can be used as a table centerpiece or as a bath cloth. You can see the optional crocheted loop in this version.

The third project in the pattern is The Bronze Square. This one is knit in Marks and Kattens Linen (153 yards in 5o grams.) It is the simplest, and is a squares with a border pick-up and worked around. The techniques include using a provisional cast-on and and picking up a lace border.

The Bronze size is 11.5 inches square and it works as either a table center or a wash cloth. This piece and a fancy bar of soap are perfect as a hostess gift or stocking stuffer for the fussiest people on your gift list!

The pattern, which includes all three projects, is available now at my Ravelry Pattern Store. Knit on into the Holidays!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Summer Squares Festival!

I have some amazing work to share with you today! Following are photos of finished projects from The Summer Squares Suite, with some details below each photo. I grouped the projects together, starting with The Summer Squares Blanket:
These two blankets are knit by Sue:
"Summer Squares Blanket #1 and 2: US 5 needles, Colourmart Exotic Cotton in Pale Leaves, Red Clay, River Sand, Hot Sand, Pale Earth, Single crochet chain to lace corners." I envy the lucky people who gets these beauties!

Next we have a couple of Dark Star Stoles:

This is Malle's Dark Star, made with "Knit Witch Yarn 100% Superfine Alpaca."
This is Sue's Dark Star (with Rocky)
"Dark Star: US 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles, 1 skein of Aurora Whisper in green, 1362 yds." Rocky looks pleased...

We have a few Blue Quartet Blankets next:

This version is from Sue:
"Quartet blanket: US 6, Colourmart Exotic Cotton in Pale Leaves and Silver Sand, 1 skein each 1100 yds. Modified the easy edging to 10 stitches with some YOs."
Mary Rose did this unique project borrowing elements from a few!
She calls it: Summer Mash
"Elann Norweigian Sport Wool (discontinued) and Knit Picks Telemark Wool
size 6 (US) needles
Elements of Summer Blanket (joins and edging) Golden Eye (border) The Blue Quartet (extra garter between the squares) "
This Blue Quartet is from Malle:
"Knit with Adriafil Snappy Ball, cotton."

These two photos are of Cara's Blue Quartet:
"The Quartet was knitted following the original directions with no additional repeats. I used Colourmart 4/28 Cashmere and a size 5 needle. Finished size is about 39 inches square."

Finally, we have a slew of Golden Eye Shawls:

This version was knit by Mary Rose (with TDQ):
"Golden Eye : Valley Yarns Hand-dyed 2/14 in Tapestry
size 4 (US) needles
modifications: added extra border repeats to enlarge the shawl"
This is Malle's version, and is knit from wool yarn.
This version was knit by Sue:
"Golden Eye: US 5 (3.75 mm) needles, 2 skeins of BBKnits laceweight in color "Peachglow" for a total of 1760 yds. I knit three extra repeats of the border. Hope to use it as a baby blanket!"
Cara knit this version:
"Golden Eye was knitted following the original directions with no additional repeats. I used Colourmart 2/16 Merino/Angora in green and knitted with a size 3 needle. Finished size is about 36 inches square."
Knit by Colleen Archbold:
"Knitpicks Shadow colour heathered blue, 3 skeins
3.75mm needles
I worked an extra round in the border.
size 8 beads, triangle fuscia lined light blue
Loved every minute of this project:)"
This one knit by Lara and she used Bernat Baby yarn.
Jean knit this version
"Yarn : Cashmere wool blend yarn 24 S/2
Needle size: 00 1.75mm
Color : Turquoise
Size: 45” square
She made 9 border repeats!"

The Summer Squares Group will be wrapping up, and the full suite of charts and patterns (all 40ish pages) will be available shortly. The individual patterns will also be available. Keep an eye on my Ravelry pattern store.

I can't thank all of you enough! The project was made so much richer by your willingness to share your finished work with me (and everyone else!) I hope all of you enjoyed the process as much as I did. I put all your names in a hat and asked LucyFur to close her eyes are pick one, but she reminded me that she does not have opposable I asked BadKitten to do it instead.

The winner of my small Summer Squares Festival Post gift is:
Email me privately with your mailing address! The yarn and beads above will be on their way to you!

Finally, stay tuned! I have a nifty winter project in the works, and this one will be blog-based and great fun. Until next time, knit on!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Athena and Friends...

I have a new design to share with you. This is what I call "travel knitting." There is a bunch of simple knitting that does not require much concentrations, and a few spurts of fun. I knit this project on my recent trip to Greece. It was not the only knitting that I had with me, but it was the only project that did not require constant attention to charts or small beads. I knit on planes, boats, beaches and mostly in a car on twisting mountain roads. This was a great project for all of that! It is available at my Ravelry Pattern Store as of right now. If you don't have a Ravelry account but still want the pattern, drop me a comment with your email address.
There are lovely 6/0 violet goldluster beads in the eyelet panel across the back and in the final border. I also used long magatamas, which were really fun to work with. The yarn is Araucania Itata Solid in color 2010 and I used 2 skeins (about 800 yards total.)
I showed you the fiber I dyed a few weeks ago. Yes, it will be yarn sooner rather than later. I am working on selecting some beads for this yarn right now, but the pattern I plan to knit is already designed, yes sir...
And finally, I made more socks using the new Jade Sapphire sock yarn, called Sapphire Sox. I decided I really like the yarn. The photo is terrible, but the pattern is pretty nice, so take a closer look. Better photos to follow, but the pattern is available right now at my Ravelry Pattern Store. If you want the pattern but not the Ravelry account, leave me a comment with your email address and I'll get back to you! You can still find a free (different) pattern for this yarn at the link for the yarn.

Finally, please look at the other recent additions to my Ravelry Pattern Store and thank you for your interest! I added Ojo De Dios and Tallin Sunset a few weeks ago.

I have several other major projects about to jump off my needles, plus some great little holiday gift projects and a big winter blog project all hiding up my sleeve, but first I have to go to Rhinebeck this Saturday. Neither rain or snow or sleet or...whatever!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Summer Squares Comes to a Conclusion...

I posted the final charts and directions for The Summer Squares project last week. Now everyone just has to knit! The blanket can have as few as four squares (for a crib blanket) or as many squares as the knitter likes (for any size blanket you like!) The edging is simple, with lacing and a bow at each corner. My yarn is a very light cotton/silk blend, but this project can work in any weight yarn you want to work with.
The squares are joined using contrasting yarn and a fun, totally knit technique. No sewing is required for this project at all...
Before I say my final farewell to summer, I want to alert all my Summer Squares participants to a special Thank-You Contest. I want to share pictures of your Summer Squares projects here on the blog. Send me pictures of your completed projects, along with yarn specs, and I will put your name into the hat. Send me pictures of more than one completed project? I will put you name in the hat more times! And what will you get if you name is pulled from the hat??? Yarn and beads...shipped from my home to your home, anywhere in the world:
A ball of Lacey Lamb in this gorgeous, spicy orange and 20 grams of silver-lined warm, brown beads...perfect for an Autumn project! Until next week...knit on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Squares Take Eleven...and then some

So I missed Take Ten. Don't yell at me...but this is The Summer Squares Project's eleventh week, and I am trying to be consistent. I got some modestly improved Dark Star photos. My model has been on strike (holding out for a better compensation package, possibly) and these were the only shots that she allowed me to post. Eventually I will have more and better pictures! Until then, you can get a pretty good sense of the project.
This shows the DarkStar Square...
And this shows the MoonShine Square...
And this shows the Beaded Belt Square along with a good detail shot of the border and edging.
I have a ton of knitting (and more than a ton of housework) to do, but I just had to take some time to make sweet and spicy pickled peppers. I love these and now I have enough to last about a year, as long as I don't give any away. I used hot cherry peppers, some jalapenos, some serranos and a few others that I don't know the names of. I know they are spicy because they made my face burn when I was cutting them. Yummmm.
And I have some new socks cooking, in preparation for a workshop I am teaching later this month. I am pleased with them, despite the mediocre picture.
I also have some new fiber in my queue. This is a merino and silk blend that I dyed and shared with a few friends. We are going to spin the fiber and use a scarf pattern I have gestating to each make our self a scarf. The group of us are all over the country. I am eager to see how each of us spins and knits this project. Expect to see more about over the next few months.
Finally, I have several other new knitting projects to share with you but first we have to wrap-up our Summer Squares work. I posted the Dark Star border chart this week and have the edging to post next week, and the blanket finishing right after that. Whew! I better get back to my knitting until next week, knit on!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation...

Consider this post a postcard...and start with "Wish you were here."
We went to visit family in Greece. We have been there before, but this time we decided to take in some of the sites. BadKitten is all about ancient Greece and loves languages (especially the ones people don't speak anymore...) We flew into Athens, rented a car and hit the road.
Because I have some serious jet lag going on, I have been up since 4am getting all sorts of things done. I already got the next chart for Dark Star posted at the Summer Squares group, I have a new piece I knit (a traveling project) blocking, and I am on my fourth load of laundry! The sunset is from a ferry traveling from the mainland to Lefkimi, on the island of Corfu.
Here is a darling hummingbird who visited my father-in-law's yard in Lefkimi every day we were there.
And here I am, knitting in Athens. As long as I have the correct projects with me I can knit any time and any place...
The food is very good in Greece. Did you know that? Here you can see a lovely salad (that Kitten and I made...)
Here are some lovely lentils that Aunt Lenio made. She gave us a cooking lesson, so now we can cook like her at home. We wrote her technique down plus took some pictures, because she never measures anything...
Here is a very pretty shop in the old part of Corfu Town. I didn't get anything, but I love how all of it looks.
We got these funky little shrimp (if you look closely you can see fingers in the picture for a size check) at a Taverna on a bluff not far from Lefkimi. The food is great but the view is better.
Like I said, the view is better...
We took a ride on a small motor boat from near Lefkimi to a pretty harbor on the mainland.
We drove all over and visited Delphi to check in with the Oracle. It was very cool. Hot, but cool.
We also visited the Oracle of the Dead, which is also very interesting and cool. Again, hot but cool...
And we went to the Acropolis. It was hot, cool and crowded! The new museum opened and it is amazing. I suggest you check it out if you are in Athens. And so you don't think I neglected my stash, let us start with yarn...and there was not too much to be had. I know there is a yarn shop (one) in Athens. I didn't have time to go there. I heard rumor there was one yarn shop in Corfu Town. I tried to find it, but could not...and guess what? I found yarn around the corner from my father-in-law's house in Lefkimi!
So if you are in Lefkimi, stand on the bridge in the center of the old part of town and look down the river toward the sea. Turn right and cross the street, walking straight down the only road you see. In one block you will see this:
This shop has fabric, "dry goods" and YARN! They had some Italian acrylic that BadKitten just loves. She got a bunch and has been crocheting hats and fingerless gloves. They had an excellent selection of fine cottons, but only in white and ecru. I got some nice cotton.
A German family who vacations every year at Aunt Lenio's beach cottages knew we were coming and brought me two balls of this very nice cotton. They know me...
And this is the cotton I bought at the little store in Lefkimi.
At the Acropolis Museum they had the most lovely display of spindle whorls. They were gorgeous and so well preserved! As I looked at them I plotted how I might have one for myself. Surely they have many more than they need, as you can see in the postcard...
And would you believe it!? At the gift shop they had handmade reproductions. The reproductions were each unique and I picked one out for myself! Above is the top view and below is the side view.
And finally, everyone knows you can find beads in Athens, but did you know there is a nice, little bead shop in Corfu Town? Neither did I. Here is the address (in English and also in Greek below.)
I bought some vintage seed beads (European) in something about a 10/0 (green luster) and something like a 6/0 (mat blue.) I also got some little eyes and some shell beads that are hard to see.
Now I have to finish my laundry and take a nap. I will be back soon with cheesecake pictures of Dark Star. Until then, knit on!